Identity politics is perishable. It seems true in Sri Lanka in particular and in almost all the countries where parliamentary politics prevail. A close perusal of election results including by-elections in the post-independent era of our country drives home the concept that identity politics has done more harm to the nation than good. Now, the time is opportune to make a critical analysis of the tragi-comic status quo political crisis of the nation from a different angle in the context of global politics.
In my view, the Parliament should essentially be a broad church in order to find solutions to our burning issues. There is nothing to hide from the international community. It is crystal clear that almost all party leaders adhered to identity politics to grab the ruling power of the country.
EDMUND BURKE, the iconic political philosopher, needs no introduction to the students of political science but, to most of the present day politicians. The quotable quotes by this great guru are many. He identifies the political animals in the society divided into little platoons. A profound analysis of this phrase could have meant to refer to the grouping of miscellaneous types of individual voters into clusters glued together for a common goal. They declare that they strive to do good to the whole community.
I am a freelance journalist. I am a member of the public service retirees’ association and an impartial analyst of the current political situations around the world. They are some of the platoons in which I move keeping my head straight.
In Sri Lanka, the changes of Presidents and Prime Ministers happen in the most unexpected manner. The writer would like to proceed with his argument to make the current Parliament an organisation that would entertain the opinions of all stakeholders with the same weight. In other words, to say NO to IDENTITY POLITICS in capital letters. In this sense, the election of Prime Minister should rest on the parliamentary party. We should not forget the fact that he has to deliver the goods to the nation. The elected members to the Parliament on the party ticket are obliged to respect his or her supremacy for the smooth functioning of the system. The political turncoats become crucial decision-makers or kingpin factors of changing governments under these circumstances. The Westminster system rejects all these undemocratic acts because it vehemently advocates democracy. The flip side of the same coin should display that all the members are equal. As the old adage goes, ‘one should not be more equal than others.’ The rapport between the Prime Minister and party members is of paramount importance. Thus, there should be a constant dialogue between the Prime Minister and elected parliamentarians because they would tend to think that they would do better than some ministers of the Cabinet. It was very palpable to me many a time and discernible to the public again and again. Mishandling of this situation has proved fatal many a time.
Ideas and values play a pivotal role in politics in democracies. Only high-calibre politicians with a proven track record would win in this race. Charisma matters a lot in politics. Lack of high presentation has proved detrimental not only in the recent past, but also throughout the political history of our paradise isle. The soul of the political party should be kept untouched for short-term gains. There should be changes of the political journey of a country for a thriving democracy. The so- called JANUARY 8 silent revolution was not result-oriented because the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing. The GOOD GOVERNANCE CAULDRON was boiling without the necessary ingredients, even without a drop of beer because of public protest. Burke further adds, “A State without the means of some change is without the means of conservation.’’ The warmth of change was not palpable to the Sri Lankan voter. Now, the Sri Lankan electorate could be optimistic as most of the policymakers and members of the legislature have learnt bitter lessons from the past. To form a profound view of the status quo of Sri Lanka’s political crisis, a quick assessment of the global political scenario seems to be a guiding light. Failure of most of the political orthodoxies around the world signals us to take a u-turn in policy-making. It is quite evident that most of the political pundits have taken very disastrous decisions in the past without feeling the pulse of the nation. In Mark Twain’s ‘PRINCE AND THE PAUPER’ most correctly concluded that the boy in mother’s warmth was not her Tom Canty. But our YAHAPALANAYA advocates were not able to deliver the things because they were not able to feel the pulse of the nation. During the last decade, the unbiased intellectuals witnessed many a failure in global politics. The following stand in array would convince you to a great extent. Donald Trump emerged the victor in America, the British voted to leave the European Union, and mishandling of the immigration issue brought adverse consequences to Angela Merkel. Stagnant wages crushed most of the segments of the public. But due to employment generation for political gains and population explosions drastically reduced the unemployment figures in most of the countries. Yet, people everywhere do not seem contented. Some governments printed currency notes as a short-term remedy, but it proved a flop. ‘GAMA APITA’ slogan of the extremist political parties such as JVP and THE PROGRESSIVE FRONT limited their political campaign targeted at a very narrow strip of voters. Most of the radical left parties still believe they could come to power using university students as their cat’s paw. ‘KEPUWATH KOLA OR NIL’ has become another failure. Keeping their electorates as home pockets based on the caste system and winning on the religious card do not prove long-lasting.
Some political parties seek winning by assuring the empowerment of the underdog and forget even the electorate after winning. Even the silver tongue of Asia came to power by uniting Sanga, Veda, Guru, Govi and Kamkaru. One time Oxford Union President Caraka laments in his magnum opus writing “I GO WEST” about the realities of India. To conclude, I vehemently advocate the doing away with IDENTITY POLITICS in Sri Lanka for the good of the nation. The August assembly should essentially be a BROAD CHURCH to realise our cherished dreams; otherwise we will have to bask in the ancient glory without moving a step further.
In Sri Lanka, the changes of Presidents and Prime Ministers happen in the most unexpected manner. The writer would like to proceed with his argument to make the current Parliament an organisation that would entertain the opinions of all stakeholders with the same weight